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"O but (some say) the poor are like to starve;
Macilente interferes no farther, in his distaste for his former pursuits, than in the following imprecation, which is a grand specimen of tragic power.
Ha! ha ha! is not this good? Is't not pleasing this?
Should live, and not be plagued? or lies he hid
And thou (in envy of him) gnaw'st thyself:
Without considering the minor characters of Shift, a versatile bully; and Clove and Orange, two citizens, who, like a pair of wooden foils, are fit only to be practis'd upon;" we shall give Jonson's description of Deliro.
"A good doting citizen, who, it is thought, might be of the common-council for his wealth, a fellow sincerely besotted on his own wife, and so rapt with a conceit of her perfection, that he simply holds himself unworthy of her; and, in that hood-winkt humour, lives more like a suitor than a husband, standing in as true dread of her displeasure as when he first made love to her. He doth sacrifice two-pence in juniper to her every morning before she rises, and wakes her with villainous out-of-tune music, which she, out of her contempt (though not out of her judgment) is sure to dislike."
Of his wife Fallace, our account has already justified the author's character, "Deliro's wife and idol-a proud mincing peat, and as perverse as he is officious-she dotes as perfectly upon the courtier, as her husband doth on her, and only wants the face to be dishonest."
Macilente having poisoned Puntarvolo's dog, on which his ventures depended, gained Carlo Buffone a beating, by persuading him to taunt the Knight with his misfortune, disproved the wit of Saviolina, and cured the imitative vanity of Fungoso -crowns the victory of his envy, by exposing Brisk and Fallace to the opening eyes of Deliro, and consigning poor Fastidius to a hopeless prison. He then completes the play, by resigning his own peculiar passion.
"Why here's a change, now is my soul at peace;
I am as empty of all envy now,
As they of merit to be envied at.
They might turn wise upon it, and be sav'd now,
We think that our extracts and description have sufficiently endeavoured to prove, that this play is replete with character and sentiment. Jonson doubtless thought highly of it. It was his challenge his examination thence. That the public might lose no jot of his intentions, we have not only the characters of Macilente and Carlo Buffone in the play itself, who are constant lecturers upon the others, but we have a chorus of critics, and a definition of the characters prefixed. This, at least the chorus, must have been a great drawback upon the power of the illusion; which, successfully preserved, might
have spoken more highly in the author's praise, than his own continued and laboured defence. But it was for Jonson to instruct a whimsical and barbarous public; and if his instructions were a punishment, it fell far short of what their presumption merited. That he has left these proofs of skill to us is, however, highly fortunate, as they enable him to become far more serviceable to us, than he would have been had he been a dramatist only. Indeed, there is something so noble in a great man's demand of the rights of his greatness, that the cause is itself a drama of no mean interest.
These then are the twins of Jonson's first and most laboured stile; they are literally a pair of plays: they are the works of a master, before popularity has made him indolent, or taught him to look for success to any means but those which deserve it. There is throughout a judgment of design, which renders every part of the complicated plots clear and perspicuous. The very sentiments are proper for Comedy: they may be serious, but they are only directed to the follies of mankind, and such vices as are, from their sordid unpoetic nature, unworthy of tragic representation. To say that this is a field of great utility, most ably cultivated, is affording a praise far too common-place. If the decisive intuition of Shakspeare is denied to these plays; if his bold colouring and sketchy power, that created a figure at a stroke, would be sought for here in vain; there is no want even of the greatly fanciful or the tremendous in conceptiontrue it is, the effort may have been more painful and less instantaneous, but industry and science have supplied what was wanting to natural strength. The artifices of ingenuity and judgment were at length enabled to rival original capacity. The imitation of acknowledged greatness gave them immediate, certain, and intrinsic, worth. The mind, in their perusal, may not be constantly expanded, but it is always corrected. Were the tribes of creeping rhymesters and would-be dramatists of the present day to explore his works-if we should not be delivered from their tediousness, we might from their absurdity. If the great men, which this age has undoubtedly produced, would profit by his example, they might learn that severity of style is the concomitant of severity of manners, and that the rock-based edifice of Jonson is firm from its simplicity, and reverend because unpolluted. They have condescended to build airy castles of unreal fancies, which, though delightful, are not permanent-day-dreams of meretricious beauty, which obscure the sun of truth, but which, when his beams shine forth, vanish into nothingness. All he had, he exerted to the noblest purpose, the reformation of mankind. His wit was human, for its constant endeavour was to wean us from our follies. The cause
of justice he alike upheld in morals and poetry, and was equally
VOL. I. PART II.
reckless in laying bare the front of vice, and exposing the dogmas of conceited ignorance. Though that age only could give him birth and nourishment, he has, if studied, lived for this-he gives us a test of the good old virtue for our morality, and an example of the only worthy use of heaven-born genius for the exercise of our talents.
ART. III. Anglia Judaica: or the History and Antiquities of the Jews in Englund, collected from all our Historians, both printed and manuscript, as also from the Records in the Tower, and other Publick Repositories, by D'Bloissiers Tovey, L.L.D.; and Principal of New Inn Hall, in Oxford. Oxford, 1738.
The Jews have been, from the earliest times, in possession of the most common sources of interest and sympathy-they have been enlightened when others were in a state of darkness -they have been the peculiar and chosen people of the Deity, when their neighbours were grovelling idolaters-their great lawgiver impressed upon them indelible marks of distinction from every nation, and, from the time of Moses, they have been a separated, peculiar, and singular race-they have been the sport of power, and the butt of ridicule and malice-they have been tortured, exiled, enslaved, persecuted, all but exterminated, and yet they have borne their sufferings with an unshrinking fortitude, and adhered in foreign lands, without a country, a home, or a government, to the laws of their ancestors, without giving up a tittle either to the menaces of authority or the blandishments of luxury. The Jewish character, if it be unamiable and disagreeable, is the creature of the circumstances by which it has been jostled and pushed about. But," bann'd and barr'd" as it has been from all Christian sympathies, it is gratifying to the lover of human nature to observe, that it has not been materially injured, nor much if at all deteriorated below the general level of the human race, as found in civilized countries. Shut out from the learned professions and more elevated walks of life, they have been driven to traffic, and to the most corrupting kind of traffic too, the dealing in money, for their chief support; the natural consequence of which is, a narrowing of the affections, and a chaining down of the imagination to the grossest considerations of profit and loss. This influence, however, has been powerfully opposed by the romance of their history, by the proud and elevating thoughts reflected from a long line of ancestry. The Jew is a captive in a foreign land, yearly looking for a glorious deliverer; he is the last relic of an illus
trious race, which is coeval with the world-the nations about him are infantine, when compared with the hoary age of Judaism. He is a member of a small band, amid a world of aliens; and the ties of kindred are therefore stronger, and the social affections more animated and called into action, than in the case of à Christian, who meets a brother in every man he meets. Assembled in their synagogue, built after the fashion of the temple of Solomon, and looking towards the east, their distant home, they chaunt a solemn worship in a strange tongue, with ceremonials and religious observances that are constantly reanimating a high enthusiasm and holy joy, which forbid the degradation of their character. The very persecution which has been inflicted upon them has called into action the virtue of fortitude, by which they are distinguished; and the temporizing and subservient manners to which they have been frequently compelled to resort, has softened and civilized the character which might otherwise have been harsh and brutal-the natural effects of the ill-usage which it has been their hard lot to encounter. But, allowing the truth of the charge of meanness and unamiability which has been laid against them, and which is the natural rust of their situation, the circumstances of their history - the decided nationality and the oriental colouring about the Jewish character, relieve them, in our eyes, from that contempt and prejudice which is not uncommonly felt even in these enlightened times, and which has always induced us to trace, with more than common interest, the fates of this unfortunate nation, from their last dispersion, through the dark and dismal periods of European history.
The history of the Jews in England, though a dreary tale of woe, we have been induced to select as the subject of this article, from the light which it throws upon the national character of the people of this country, and the nature of its government, during the dark ages of its annals: and if it be painful to read of massacres, extortions, and persecutions, it is still a subject of congratulation to turn our eyes upon the improved state both of the persecuted and the persecutors-an idea which is naturally reflected from the opaque surface of these barbarous times with a luminous brightness, upon our own more happy epoch.
The Jews, it has been commonly affirmed by historians, were introduced into England by William the Conqueror. That many Jews accompanied that sovereign and his army into Britain, and afterwards, during his reign, flocked into the country in greater numbers than at any previous period, is very true; but this wandering nation had made a settlement in England a considerable time before the conquest, as is proved by the industrious antiquary who compiled the book before us. The Jews